A small town with a big festival
Sunny blue skies and family friendly activities drew hundreds of area visitors and community members to the 42nd Annual MayFestival in Rutherfordton on Saturday, where Main Street featured more than 100 vendors offering a large variety of local arts and crafts, comfort foods and specialty items.
From turkey legs to blooming onions, handmade bird feeders to unique jewelry, pony rides to Boy Scout demonstrations, the festival had something for every age and interest.
"It's a great day to be in Rutherfordton," said Mayor Jimmy Dancy. "It's a beautiful day, there are great vendors and the streets are full of people."
The all-day street festival is organized by Rutherford Town Revitalization (RTR), in coordination with the Town of Rutherfordton and numerous sponsors and volunteers.
"Everything has gone very smoothly this year with our vendors and our festival activities," said Cindy Adair, events coordinator of RTR. "The festival is important for our community spirit, quality of life and vitality of our downtown."
Prior to the festival's official activities, the morning kicked off with the 2014 Gears & Gables cycling event, sponsored by Moose Vending. The ride featured nearly 70 cyclists traveling 30-mile, 60-mile and 100-mile routes through the hills of Rutherfordton. The Carrier Houses Bed & Breakfast provided cyclists with breakfast, and Forest City Fish Camp provided them with lunch following the event.
All proceeds from the ride went to Rutherford Housing Partnership (RHP) and its mission to provide low-income homeowners with urgent repairs imminent to life or safety.
"This has been our biggest year yet with Gears & Gables, and it's just so fun to be outside, away from the office and meeting all the people out here," said Linda Tribou of RHP. "This year, after expenses we will have raised over $9,000 for RHP."
Following the start of the cycling event was the Color Blast 5K, a high-energy event sponsored by Rutherford Women's League, where participants were covered in colorful dust. A colorful Fun Run for children was held after the 5K.
This year the Rutherford Women's League chose Abounding Grace Ministry in Rutherfordton to receive the proceeds of the Color Blast 5K and Fun Run.
Expanding from 2013, this year's MayFestival featured many returning vendors and several new booth spaces like All Spice.
Run by Sarah Girma and her mother Sandra McCaslin from Arden, the booth displayed numerous handsewn and hand-knitted items including aprons, towels, scarves and even teepees.
"We saw another vendor at a craft fair who told us about MayFestival and suggested we check it out," Girma said. "We've been doing festivals for about five years, and this year we've started doing more festivals each month. We really enjoy being around people and talking with them."
"It's nice to be able to express yourself with handmade items," McCaslin added.
Newcomer Joyce Barber of Mill Spring also joined this year's MayFestival vendors with her line of handcrafted dolls. Barber spends a few days crafting each unique doll, often giving it felt shoes and llama fiber hair.
"I started making these dolls when I retired because I needed something to do," Barber said. "I've always liked to sew and I love dolls — this is my passion."
Another first-time MayFestival vendor included Adriana Magee and her daughter Tatiana, both from Rutherfordton. At their booth, Flowers & More by ArT, flowers made from soda cans and bird feeders fashioned out of plastic bottles and jugs filled the inside of the tent.
"I started making these things this year and this is our first-ever festival," Adriana Magee said. "Every day you get so much trash and I didn't know what to do with it, so these ideas came to me as a way to recycle items."
Also new at this year's MayFestival, Gregory's Original Restaurant held its first-ever car show in Rutherfordton, where several awards were presented including "Best in Show" and "People's Choice."
"It's an honor to be the mayor of Rutherfordton when you see the community come together and families join in a fun day," Dancy said.
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For additional photos from MayFestival, visit www.facebook.com/TheDailyCourier this week.